During the construction of the Wachusett Reservoir many aqueducts had to be excavated. This was the job for many Italian Immigrants and African American migrants from Virginia.
Unfortunately, tunneling work on the aqueduct was the most hazardous aspect of the project because of the use of dynamite to blast through bedrock.
In September 1896, in an aqueduct similar to this one, three African-American laborers and their Irish foreman were killed in an explosion. There were several more fatalities and many injuries during construction.
Since the construction of the Wachusett Reservoir there have been many laws and regulations put into place for laborers to help prevent future injuries and fatalities.